Ramsey, Wade lead Big Reds over No. 3 Huntington

PARKERSBURG – Michael Ramsey scored a game-high 21 points and Ja’Darien Wade tossed in 18 as host Parkersburg used a team effort Tuesday night inside Memorial Fieldhouse to upset No. 3 Huntington, 73-71, in a Mountain State Athletic Conference clash.

The Highlanders (16-3) shot just 3 of 14 from downtown in each half and led only once at 2-0. PHS held a 21-13 advantage after one when Jordan Colebank closed out the scoring in the opening period for part of his 10 markers with an 18-foot swish.

Huntington, which plays Saturday at the South Charleston Community Center in the MSAC consolation game versus an opponent to be announced, tied the affair just once. That came at 44-all when Tavian Dunn-Martin canned a triple from a Jalen Pennington dish with 1:34 left in the third quarter.

“We switched defensively a lot in the first half, but went to it exclusively,” PHS head coach Jeff Mennillo said of the 3-2 zone, which helped hold the Highlanders to 25 of 68 (36.8 percent) from the field. “The kids did a great job of playing hard for 32 minutes. We handled adversity real well in the third quarter.

“When our energy level was good (at the start) I knew we had a shot. We knew they’d come out in the third quarter and try to fight their way back in it. Getting (Arick) Nicks in foul trouble was a big help.”

Nicks and Dunn-Martin finished with 18 points apiece to lead the visitors, who also got 15 tallies from Anthony Meadows along with nine points and as many rebounds from JR Howard.

In the third quarter, HHS hit 7 of 10 field goals. That included the lone 3-point attempt that evened things at 44. Mennillo emphasized a charge taken by Big Red Zach Carroll helped stymie the Highlanders’ momentum in the third. PHS managed a 48-46 cushion entering the fourth thanks to a pair of Levi Hays made foul shots and a Darius Basta deuce that Hays assisted on.

Basta opened the fourth with consecutive assists to Wade inside and PHS led 54-46 with 6:15 to go after Hays canned two more charity stripe freebies. PHS finished 18 of 21 from the line and HHS went 15 of 23.

Cole Day’s free throws with 3:24 remaining gave PHS (6-12) what looked like a comfortable advantage at 64-53. However, Nick Tubbs, who scored eight points and had four assists, converted a lay-in to ignite a 6-0 run that was capped by a Nicks putback at the 2:44 mark. Ramsey, though, drained a 3-pointer just 18 seconds later that Mennillo said “was a dagger.”

Nonetheless, Huntington kept fighting and trailed 73-69 with 17.6 ticks on the clock after a Tubbs 3.

Despite an eighth turnover in the frame for PHS, which had 20 compared to Huntington’s nine, the best the visitors could do with no timeouts left was watch Nicks score an uncontested bucket as the final 3.9 seconds ran off the clock.

“Our record is who we have been and not where we are,” said Mennillo, who watched his team shoot 15 of 24 in the first half and 9 of 17 (58.5 percent overall) from the floor after intermission. “I think we are getting better.”

Wade had nine rebounds, Colebank had eight and Ramsey, who added four assists, grabbed seven boards. Basta finished with a game-high five assists.

PHS is set to play host to rival Parkersburg South on Saturday night. However, if Riverside upsets Woodrow Wilson on Thursday night, the Big Reds will play an MSAC placement game Friday night at Winfield.